Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Inbox: Applying Decals to Curved Surfaces

An inbox question, reproduced here with permission:

Hey Jabberjabber,
Just read your post about painting the Black Legion raptor lord.  Can I ask you how you get those Black Legion decals to attach on curved surfaces so flat?  Mine always seem to stick out!

Reply: I'm not sure that I have a good answer, but my way of doing it is to radially slice the decal before application on to the curved surface (in this case, the shoulder pad).  By that, I mean that when I cut the decal out from the sheet, I add in a few extra cuts, from the outer rim, to the centre.  I don't cut all the way to the centre of the decal, but just enough so that I know it'll curve with the curved surface. 

A second alternative is to soften up the decal before application.  I'm not too familiar with how this is achieved in a practical sense (heating it up, or perhaps some kind of solvent that partially melts it), but in principle this would also work.  Perhaps some of my readers can comment who have more experience with this technique?

The final alternative is to apply a small blob of varnish on to the shoulder pad prior to applying the decal. I tried this with some older models and it worked well.  The varnish has the added benefit of ensuring fewer (or zero) air bubbles.


Big D said...

I have had really good luck using MicroSol and MicroSet for putting decals on odd surfaces.

The MicroSol is a solvent that softens the decal, and the MicroSet is kind of like a decal glue.

The trick to get everything smooth is to put down a layer of gloss varnish first, let it dry, apply the decal using the solvent and glue, and once that is dry go over it again with gloss varnish. The end results look painted on after you hit it with some dull coat.

Green Stuff Industries said...

Vinegar works as a solvent for these decals, too. Cheap and effective. Big D is absolutely right... varnish first and last! Works great!

jabberjabber said...

Thanks for the tips guys! I've not used microsol before, but might give it a go now!

And vinegar -- what a great suggestion! Cheers!

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